RARA-AVIS: Re: Small Crimes

From: davezeltserman (Dave.Zeltserman@gmail.com)
Date: 05 Mar 2010

  • Next message: Peter Enfantino: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Small Crimes"

    Peter, thanks, glad you liked Small Crimes. And I agree with you about the watered down, saccharine nature of today's crime fiction--and just as bad some of the recent over-the-top unrealistic cartoonish stuff, which is why I also mostly stick with the older stuff. But there are exceptions, Westlake/Stark, Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, Ed Gorman, for example, and some of the translated books coming from Bitter Lemon Press, like Gianrico Carofiglio's crime books, are great, and why it's such a treat to discover writers like Derek Raymond.

    A couple of new and very different writers who I discovered the past year (and for full disclosure, after reading their books have become friends with both of these authors) who are also writing excellent uncompromising crime fiction are Roger Smith, who's two crime thrillers, Mixed Blood and Wake Up Dead, are just great, violent as hell, and nothing watered down or cartoonish about them (although Ron Clinton might disagree about the bent cop, Rudi, in Mixed Blood), and Paul Tremblay whose narcoleptic PI series The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland, is really terrific stuff--although the premise sounds cutesy, not a hint saccharine in it.

    About why there's so little true dark crime fiction being published these days, at least books that aren't meant to be tongue and cheek or broad cartoons, is NY's afraid of these books, and maybe rightfully so. I think if these books were categorized as literary fiction they'd do much better, but when they're put under the mystery label, you then have a problem where the typical mystery reader needs to like their protagonist. Even though I think of my own writing as being more on the pulp side, I tend to do much better with critics who are geared towards literary fiction, than I do with mystery genre critics/reviewers. I also think there's a much wider acceptance for these books in Europe (outside of the UK) than here in the states.

    and Nathan, thanks for mention of Pariah, and yep, nothing watered down in that one.


    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Enfantino" <penfantino@...> wrote:
    > I've been lurking for a couple months and, unfortunately, have very little time on my hands to post but when I saw the name of Dave Zeltserman this morning, I just had to shout out. I just finished Small Crimes (it was recommended when I bought a novel by Ken Bruen on Amazon) this week and was (almost literally) blown away. Mr. Zeltserman, you've created a minor classic here (I hope that comes across correctly!). It's the best novel Jim Thompson never wrote. I don't want to include spoilers here just in case... but your descriptions of how your main character takes one step up and two steps back in the morals department and mentally justifies it the whole way through kept me turning the pages late into the night. I read quite a bit of crime fiction but tend to concentrate mainly on the fifties output (Manhunt Magazine and Gold Medals) because I find today's mystery fiction, for the most part, watered down and saccharine. Your Small Crimes could easily have been published in 1953 by Lion Books with a beautiful Maguire cover. And that's the biggest compliment I can pay a writer. I look forward to picking up your other novels.
    > Peter Enfantino

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